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How to Brown Butter

Master this simple trick for infinitely better baked goods
How to Brown Butter Video
Photo: Tasting Table

If you haven't yet realized the glory of brown butter, this is the year your baked goods, roast vegetables, popcorn and maybe even your life are going to change. Brown butter is simply butter that has been heated over the stove to become nutty and golden. In French, it's called beurre noisette, or literally “hazelnut butter,” which describes its color and rich flavor perfectly.

The most difficult part of making brown butter is keeping a close eye on it. Butter burns at a lower smoke point than other oils, which means it will burn faster than you might be used to.

But if you watch it carefully, brown butter will be your ultimate secret weapon.

Here's what you need to do:

① Place the butter in a light-colored pan over medium heat.

② Melt the butter, swirling the pan occasionally to make sure everything melts evenly.

③ Watch the pan closely for brown flecks, which indicate that the butter is toasting.

④ Remove the butter from the heat and pour it into a new bowl as soon as you smell a nutty aroma and the brown flecks turn a darker shade.

Watch the video below to see the color you're shooting for (and the color you want to avoid). Be careful not to undercook it; otherwise, you won't obtain that rich flavor. On the other hand, don't overcook it either.

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Keep a watchful eye and pull the pan off the heat as soon as you smell the hazelnut aroma and see the browned color forming. The butter will still cook a little bit once off the heat, so don't wait until it looks perfect; pull it just before that point and put it in a new container so it stops cooking. Think about it like hitting the brakes before pulling to a complete stop. Master this skill and prepare yourself for better-tasting everything.

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